Whenever people think of Hyundai they think good specification, solid build and attractive design. They also think of good value. Lately though, Hyundai has gone into the higher price brackets of the market, including the R1 million Palisade. Some people have lamented this. However, it appears that Hyundai is pricing most of its products in line with competitors in the various segments. This is partly confirmed by sales figures, which have seen the brand rise to the top 4 position in the country.
It is the market that decides who is priced correctly and who is not. So when I drove the new i20 N Line for a few days, reaction was positive on its looks, but disappointing on price. What makes the little Korean stand out from the crowd then?
Looks in the main. The i20 N Line features several styling items not found in other i20 models. These include exterior paint in white or red, with a black roof to complete the two-tone look, with some elements like the front grille, bumper and rear bumper in glossy black, as well as the side mirrors, side sills and rear spoiler. Our test unit came in the red. Wheels are 16-inch alloys in polished charcoal black and silver. At the rear are twin exhaust tailpipes and an N Line badge to the right.
Inside the first thing one notices are the red stitches on the faux leather seats, that red part chequered flag on the backrest, as well as the embossed N above it. The multifunction steering wheel is adjustable for both reach and height, while the seats themselves are manually adjustable. Hyundai has fitted a 20.3cm infotainment touch screen that also doubles as the reverse parking camera display. Infotainment features include radio, media player, Bluetooth, Android Auto and Apple Carplay among others. It is not a difficult system to work and is within easy reach for the driver. The automatic air conditioning is single zone, meaning all the occupants get the same temperature and fan speed. Crucially though a smart phone wireless charging pad is supplied, but also a total of four charging ports in different guises. No type C though.
When it comes to performance the i20N Line is fitted with a 3-cylinder, 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine that produces 90kW of power and 172Nm of torque. Mated to it is a 7-speed DCT (double clutch automatic transmission) driving the front wheels. Hyundai says it allows the car to accelerate from 0 – 100km/h in 9.9 seconds, topping off at 187km/h. I tested neither of these claims, so you will just have to trust them. I did test the claimed fuel consumption of 6.9 litres per 100km though, and came up a little short at 7.2L/100km from the 37 litre fuel tank.
Something that needs to be understood about this car. It is not Hyundai’s hi-performance baby hatch. That title belongs to the i20 N, which has 152kW. The i20 N Line is more or less a middle ground towards the full-blown N, with some sporty looks to boot. Therefore I kept this in mind while driving the car, which has a low volume growl. The DCT is quick to change gears, but behaves like a CVT at times.
I really liked the i20 N Line. It looks sporty, comfortably sits four or five people, can take 311 litres of luggage in the boot, and has a brisk attitude on the open road. Is it worth R411 000? Perhaps the best way to look at the answer is to compare it to its direct rivals, namely the Opel Corsa Elegance, Peugeot 208 GT Line and Volkswagen Polo R Line.